Nokia launches 2 ‘feature-rich’ dual-SIM phones in Cebu

Nokia Philippines launched in Cebu yesterday the Nokia X1-01 and Nokia C2-00, two phones capable of working with two subscriber identity modules (SIM) cards at the same time.

Nokia Philippines corporate communications manager Nikka Abes said the two phones will likely be available in Cebu in June or July.

Abes said that while it may have taken Nokia some time to produce dual-SIM phones, the units they are launching come with the company’s seal of quality and durability as well as product support.

Abes said consumers want dual SIM phones for the convenience and cost savings. People who frequently travel also prefer dual-SIM phones to better manage roaming charges. In some instances, especially in poorer markets, dual-SIM phones also allow multiple users on the same device. Continue reading →

Turning into a fandroid

HOW long does your initial fascination with a new phone last? Two weeks? A month?

In my case, it used to take about two weeks before the novelty of a new unit started to wear off.

But not with my LG P500, a device that has Android 2.2 or Froyo as operating system. Two months after buying it, I’m more fascinated and attached to it today than in the day after I unboxed the unit.

Before Android, I wouldn’t have considered buying either a Samsung or an LG unit. I was a Sony Ericsson and, later, a Nokia person. It was such a hassle having to transition to another mobile phone brand and relearn everything—from quirks in the keypad to the way other software components worked.

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One more reason to love Nokia: standard audio jacks

(This is for my Sun.Star Cebu column on Tuesday, May 12, 2009)

Two Nokia phones I’ve recently tested steeled my conviction to transfer to the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer from Sony Ericsson, whose phones I’ve been using for at least a decade. The two units, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and N96, have standard jacks for audio and video-out connections.

With standard audio jacks, you can use regular headphones, including those you buy for laptops or personal computers, with your mobile phone. Not only do you have more choices when it comes to the quality or design, you also have more options when it comes to the price.

With the current design of mobile phone accessories like earphones and external speakers, you are locked into the phone manufacturer’s usually expensive product offerings. The other option is to risk buying cheap knockoffs that at times conk out in less than a week.

Standard headphones with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
USE REGULAR HEADPHONES. The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic has a standard audio jack and you can use any type of headphone with it. Above, a regular PC headphone works with the device.

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In the cloud? What if it all goes up in smoke? The case of my missing phone numbers

LAST Thursday, I got the phone number of an elementary school friend I haven’t had contact with in more than a decade. After saving the contact info in the cellphone I am currently testing, a Nokia 5800, I immediately synchronized my phonebook with Zyb.

Zyb is a web-based service that stores your contact data. It has social networking features that plug into such sites as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

But Zyb’s core function is to make sure you have an updated (and backed up) copy of all your contact details. It is a very useful service especially when you get a new phone or use several units.

To make sure you always have the latest contact details of people, Zyb regularly reminds you to synchronize your phone book with its servers.

Synchronizing with Zyb
SYNCHRONIZING WITH ZYB. Zyb holds the latest copy of my phone contacts. The service regularly reminds you to synchronize your phonebook to make sure you have the latest copy of your phone contacts.

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Why I’m leaving Sony Ericsson for Nokia

Like Saul, my conversion happened on the road.

I was on my way to a meeting and needed to constantly check my e-mail as well as keep my instant messaging (IM) accounts online when it hit me, like the Biblical blinding light, that the Nokia E71 is the best mobile Internet device I’ve used.

It isn’t just the ease by which the device is able to use multiple Internet access points—from various wi-fi hot spots with different security settings to HSPA —it is also the dependability of the device in keeping that connection. Nokia E71

In the two weeks that I was asked to test an E71 review unit, I’ve never experienced having difficulty going online and staying there.

When I was asked by Nokia to test the E71, I was a rabid Sony Ericsson fan boy. But a decade of using Sony Ericsson phones was no match with just a fortnight with the E71. By the end of the test, I had decided to shift to an Eseries device later this year.

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2 weeks with the Nokia E71

I’ve been asked to review the Nokia E71. Nokia Philippines lent me a review unit for two weeks.

The E71 is part of Nokia’s Eseries, a line of smartphones for business use. The phone’s features can make any heavy mobile user drool: wi-fi and high-speed mobile Internet connectivity, easy e-mail setup through Nokia’s service, integrated A-GPS, an integrated 3.2-megapixel camera and all the features you’d expect from a modern phone such as Bluetooth connectivity, expandable media storage, FM radio, digital media playing capabilities etc.

The two-week test will be the longest time in probably more than five years that I’ve used a Nokia phone. I’d try out Nokia units once in a while for several minutes and that’s the full extent of my usage.

The last Nokia unit I used extensively was, I’m embarrassed to admit, the venerable Nokia 5110. After that, I switched to Ericsson, starting with the R320s and stuck to the company, which later merged with Sony, until this day.

I’m excited to try the unit out. I’ll be blogging the entire review process here as well as posting constant Twitter updates that you can read at the sidebar on the right or in my Twitter page.

Nokia launches 5800 in Cebu

Nokia formally launched in Cebu last week its latest model in the XpressMusic product line, the Nokia 5800. The XpressMusic line is Nokia’s answer to Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones, devices that are designed for music playing.

The features of the Nokia 5800 are formidable—it comes with all the features you’d expect from a modern phone plus touchscreen control, built-in A-GPS, wi-fi connectivity, high resolution 3.2-inch display, and a 3.2 megapixel built-in camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual LED flash.

NOKIA 5800. Nikka Singson-Abes, corporate communications manager of Nokia Philippines, holds the Nokia 5800 during its launching in Cebu.

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PLDT Landline Plus goes prepaid: Turn any GSM phone into a portable “landline”

PLDT will launch this weekend prepaid plans for its Landline Plus service. The service, previously available only on monthly postpaid plans, gives consumers “fixed-wireless telephone lines.”

Calls to these wireless handsets, within a provincial area, are considered local connections and aren’t charged by the minute. The Landline Plus user is only charged by the minute for outgoing calls, not incoming ones. These handsets can also send and receive SMS messages.

PLDT Landline Plus PORTABLE LANDLINE. The PLDT Landline Plus Prepaid SIM running on the Sony Ericsson K8001. With the SIM, calls to this phone from a landline, whether Globe or PLDT, are considered local connections and are not charged by the minute. You know the SIM is active by the operator logo: it says PLDT instead of Smart. Click on photo to enlarge.

But the availability of prepaid plans is just an undercard (in boxing parlance) to what will be launched through TV ads during Manny Pacquiao’s fight this Sunday: Landline Plus is going GSM SIM-based.

It can now be used with any GSM mobile handset.

With the prepaid plan, not only are you free from being locked into the service for a year, you also no longer need to pay for the handset or activation fee. You also no longer need to submit applications and other required documents. You just buy the P100 SIM and insert it into a GSM handset that’s open line or locked to Smart and Talk and Text and you have a portable “landline.”

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Windows Live services coming to Nokia phones

Nokia has announced that it has partnered with Microsoft to provide a suite of Windows Live services “specifically designed for Nokia devices.” Users of compatible S60 devices in selected countries can now download Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Contacts and Windows Live Spaces.

Users of Nokia Series 40 devices will be able to download the services only next year. Current users of Nokia N73, N76, N80 Internet Edition, N93i, and N95 can get the suite via the Download! application in their phones. Nokia asked users to check http://www.nokia.com/windowslive whether the application is available to their country. I opened the site and got an error instead. But Nokia said in the press statement that the application is available in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, UK, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The applications, according to a Nokia press statement, will allow users to “seamlessly move between contacts, mail, messenger, phone calls, text messaging, camera, gallery and browsing all in an integrated way.”

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